Lost: Jamal Olasewere, Julian Boyd, C.J. Garner, Troy Joseph, Arnold Mayorga, Michael Culpo, Pete Aguilar, Robinson Odoch Opong
Gains: D.J. Griggs, E.J. Reed, Gilbert Parga, Kedar Edwards
LIU-Brooklyn has won the conference the past two seasons, and the Blackbirds initially were expected to once again compete for the NEC title. But those hopes were dashed when their three leading scorers plus one other reserve were suspended following an assault charge in September. For now, I am assuming that these players will all be out for the season.
Included were NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, first-team selection Jamal Olasewere and starting guard C.J. Garner. With these three, LIU is for sure the most talented team in the NEC, but without them, the Blackbirds are just another average team in a low-level conference. Now, point guard Jason Brickman is their only all-conference-level player.
To make the task of a three-peat even harder, the Blackbirds also had a coaching change this offseason.
Jim Ferry, who had rebuilt LIU's basketball program after taking over in 2002, bolted for Duquesne, and Jack Perri, who spent seven seasons as a LIU assistant, was promoted to head coach. Although Perri has spent time with these players and learned under the successful Ferry, he is still a liability as a first-year head coach.
In the backcourt, the Blackbirds will start Jason Brickman and Brandon Thompson.
Brickman was one of the top point guards in the country with 7.3 assists per game last year in addition to 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds. He also shot 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. The junior has the potential to lead the nation in assists this year.
Thompson played only 17.6 minutes per game last year, but in that limited time he averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Sophomore Gerrell Martin and freshmen D.J. Griggs and Kedar Edwards could also be fighting for a starting position with this team being so thin.
In the frontcourt, Kenny Onyechi, a 6'7" senior, is the only sure starter. Onyechi only averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds last year, but as a freshman he averaged 8.1 points and two years ago he shot 61.4 percent from the field.